tv Melissa Harris- Perry MSNBC May 10, 2014 7:00am-9:01am PDT
this morning, my question, can the gop just keep running against obamacare? plus the latest on the girls in nigeria and how monica lewinsky is rewriting her story. we'll begin with vladimir putin's dramatic victory day ride. good morning, i'm melissa harris-perry. russian president vladimir putin has earned an international reputation for displays of vigor and manliness and friday's was epic as he arrived in crimea to mark victory day, the 69th anniversary of the day the soviet union announced the surrender of germany in world war ii. it was putin's first visit to crimea since russia annexed the
region from ukraine in march and he looked every bit the conquering leader shouting out hello, comrades, to neighboring ships and promising the crowd that 2014 will be the year when the people of crimea firmly decided to be together with russia. the u.s. and its allies had a very different take on putin's visit. they called it escalating tensions. nalt owe's secretary general called it inappropriate and white house jay carney echoed that sentiment on msnbc friday. >> president putin's presence in crimea is certainly not helpful. the international community, including the united states, does not recognize the illegal annexation by russia of crimea, part of the sovereign nation of ukraine. >> putin's visit to crimea came just hours after a thundering victory day parade in moscow with russia's military might on full display. some 11,000 soldiers and 150
military vehicles. among the first vehicles to enter red square, an armored personnel carrier flying the crimean flag. across russia and the soviet republics, victory day is a day of intense national pride. a day to mark the end of what the russians call the great patriotic war, and to remember the staggering number of soviet citizens who lost their lives in world war ii, as many as 27 million. ukraine knows those losses well. it was one of the most devastated soviet republics after world war ii. for some ukrainian nationalist, it was not just the fight against germany but also a fight against soviet domination. according to the cia as many as eight million ukrainians died at the hands of both german and soviet forces during world war ii. echos of that history, that resistance to domination from moscow was evident at the start of this current crisis in ukraine. now, so much has happened, it's hard to believe that it really all began over something as
boring sounding as a trade agreement, but in november when ukraine's former president abandoned a trade deal with the european union and chose instead to forge closer ties with russia, it was enough to send protesters who were leery of russia's growing influence in ukraine into the streets of kiev. in less than two weeks, the clashes between police and protesters turned violent. by january, the clashes had turned deadly. the pressure on the ukrainian president to step down was mounting, and on february 22nd, the ukrainian parliament voted to dismiss him. it didn't take russia long to respond to that show of defiance. less than a week later masked gunmen seized government buildings in crimea, a region in eastern ukraine with a large russian population. international condemnation quickly followed. >> we are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the russian federation inside of ukraine. any violation of ukraine's
sovereignty and territory would be deeply destabilizing. >> by march 1st, less than a week of anonymous gunmen seizing buildings, russia had taken over crimea without firing a shot. president obama responded by ordering sanctions. but so far that has done little to deter russia or pro-russian separatists in ukraine. there was a glimmer of hope when international talks reduced an agreement aimed at pulling russia and eastern ukraine back from the brink of war. >> we agreed today that all illegal armed groups must be disarmed. that all illegally seized buildings must be returned to their legitimate owners and all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated. >> we now know that that didn't quite work out as planned,
prompting yet another threat of sanctions from president obama just two weeks ago. >> collectively, us and the europeans have said that so long as russia continues down the path of provocation rather than trying to resolve this issue peacefully and deescalating, there are going to be consequences and those consequences will continue to grow. >> since russia's annexation of crimea, tensions in other parts of ukraine have escalated. pro-russian protesters clash with ukrainian military and tens of thousands of russian troops remain camped out on the border. the violence even marred victory day celebrations. fierce and deadly clashes broke out friday over control of a police station in southeastern ukraine. with all that, the escalating violence, the defiance by russia, you can understand why the international community did a collective double-take this week when vladimir putin suddenly announced that he was withdrawing his troops from the border with ukraine.
he even signalled russia would accept ukraine's presidential election if parts of eastern ukraine were given autonomy. that was on wednesday. so far the white house says it has seen no signs of russian troops retreating. by thursday, putin had gone from talking about the possibility of peace to showing his readiness for war, personally overseeing a massive military exercise that included russia's nuclear forces. but what happens next between russia and ukraine may not be entirely up to vladimir putin. this week he urged pro-russian militants in eastern ukraine to call off a referendum seeking autonomy for parts of the region but the militants have vowed to go ahead with the vote as planned tomorrow. something the u.s. state department strongly opposes. >> our view is that their attempt to create further division and disorder in the country. i'm not going to make a prediction of what we'll do. obviously we believe that these should not be held and they're
not legitimate. our focus remains on the may 25th elections. >> for the people in ukraine, it is all about tomorrow, at least for now. for the latest on the situation on the ground, here is nbc news chief foreign correspondent, richard engel. >> reporter: melissa, violence is continuing here today in ukraine, mostly centered on the southern city of mariopol. yesterday ukrainian forces moved in heavy to try to drive out pro-russian separatists from a police station it occupied in the center of town. the ukrainian soldiers used armored personnel carriers, rocket-propelled grenades and pushed the separatists from the police station, but in doing so, they set the police station on fire, killed at least seven people and turned the center of mariopol into a war zone. devry lens is continuing there with reports of more gunfire. it is this environment that
people will vote in the referendum over the weekend to decide if they want eastern ukraine to remain part of ukraine, to stay loyal to the government in kiev, or declare independence. most people, most countries around the world do not recognize this referendum. they say it is illegal. they say it is a move that is orchestrated by moscow and it does seem quite clearly supported by moscow, even though vladimir putin a few days ago called on separatists to postpone this referendum. then yesterday putin shows up in crimea. he paid this surprise visit, arriving on a boat. he likes grand entrances. and he said that 2014 will be remembered as the time when the russian communities decided to join back up with the motherland, and he said that all nations of the world should respect russia's self-interests, should respect russia's rights to, in his words, correct
historic injustice. and as you know, he believes that the collapse of the soviet union was a historic injustice and it appears that mr. putin is trying to restore some of that soviet glory. melissa. >> that was nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engel. joining me now on set is colonel jack jacobs, msnbc military analyst and a medal resip yengt. so nice to have you here. >> good morning, melissa. >> i know last week you believed we were on the precipice of an escalation we can call war. >> i think there's a civil war going on right now. it's at a relatively low level but could escalate very, very quickly. don't forget also that the former soviet republics now free of the soviet union are very much concerned themselves. it would be very, very easy for this thing, first of all, to boil over into much more violence, especially after the election that is supposed to be held, no matter what the results
are. and secondally spill over to other republics. we have troops in poland to demonstrate we're really concerned. this has the potential for being really, really messy. >> so given that that potential exists and given that at least initially observers were saying that putin's goal here was simply to annex crimea with as little cost as possible, what is a benefit to putin at this point to continue to destabilize ukraine? >> the last guy in the world to ask that question is putin himself. seriously, the way he operates, and we have it on pretty good authority that this is the way he operates because we've been watching him for a long, long time, is that he does thing really in an ad hoc fashion. it's not like a bunch of advisers get together and start at the end and work backwards, what's our objective, how are we going to get there, these are our options. that's not how he does things. he takes a look at what has just
happened and then responds to it. this is good news and bad news. the bad part of the bad news is that there's no way that we can get around him because we don't know ultimately what his objective is. at the very quibeginning we sai oh, yes, all he wants is crimea. once he seizes crimea, it makes it look much more attractive to foment some sort of discord in the eastern part of ukraine and eventually annex that too. he will if he can. he won't if he doesn't think he can do it. >> let me go to that then. in other words, it seems possible that he actually did begin with an initial interest just in crimea. maybe seeing the relative success of it now has these broader, potentially imperial plans on it. given that the main reaction at this point of the united states is a sanctions-based one and given that this is at least by some accounts someone who operates in a relatively ad hoc and very sort of powerful,
masculinist, arrive on a boat kind of way, how effective will sanctions be in addressing that sense that in fact he has to push back? >> they're not now and they won't be. when you think about what we're sanctioning, who we're sanctioning, you can realize that it's not going to have very much effect. second, we're not supported by the very countries we need to have support in order to get it done. the e.u. but particularly germany and france have enormous ties to russia and they have no interest whatsoever -- they would like it all to go away if it possibly can. they're not supportive of what we'd like to do and that is put wide-ranging sanctions on russia. they're not interested in doing that. and they have argued strenuously that we don't do that. so no effect now and it's not going to have an effect in the future. >> so here we are halfway through 2014. does it turn out that as a
presidential candidate, former governor mitt romney was right and that it is russia that was our great global challenger? >> well, it's a great global challenge, but i don't think that russia is our great global national security challenge. if you think about all the other places where we have real serious national security problems, russia pales in comparison. take a look at the middle east generally. take a look at the concern that saudi arabia has with what's going on in syria and so on. and with iran. take a look at iran. how about the far east with what's happening between china and everybody else. our allies an friends, trading partners in the far east are very much concerned about what china is doing. and for my money, i think still the most dangerous country on the face of the earth is pakistan. culturally diverse. the government has very little control over what's taking place
inside the country. and they have nuclear weapons. a very, very bad combination. yeah, russia is a problem and i'm very much concerned about what's happening in former russian satellites, but it's not the biggest problem we've got. >> i so appreciate you setting that in context as you always do. you're always welcome here at the table. thank you for being here today. thank you to colonel jack jacobs for your insight and expertise as always. up next, a new study out of notre dame that made us do a double take. we absolutely did not see this one coming. 's not the "limit yor hard earned cash back" card . it's not the "confused by rotating categories" card. it's the no-category-gaming, no-look-passing, clear-the-lane-i'm- going-up-strong, backboard-breaking, cash back card. this is the quicksilver cash back card from capital one. unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every single day. i'll ask again... what's in your wallet?
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obamacare opponents just can't seem to catch a break these days. every time they turn around, their aca is a failure frown is turned upside down into an aca ain't half bad smile. there was a time when florida governor rick scott went looking for aca complaints at a senior center and instead heard these stories of praise. i'm completely satisfied. we're all just sitting here taking it for granted that because we have medicare we don't want to lose one part of it. that's wrong to me. i think we have to spread it around. this is the united states of america. it's not the united states of
senior citizens. then there were the weeks when republicans crowed that not enough people would sign up for aca exchanges, where people buy the private insurance plans in part due to the administration's admittedly rocky rollout of healthcare.gov. but the success of the exchanges hinges on getting enough people, especially healthy people, to sign up. when enrollment reached six million some accused of obama administration of just lying. here is senator brazio doing exactly that. >> i don't think it means anything, chris. i think they're cooking the books on this. people want to know the answers to that. >> but when the president announced that more than seven million people had signed up, republicans were still not impressed. here's representative marsha blackburn on why the president really nominated sylvia about your el to take over the health and human services. >> they know they have got a math problem with obamacare and the numbers are not going to work out so the problem is
actuarially sound and they have to have someone to spin the numbers and i think that's what they're expecting her to do for them. >> then the president announced the final number, that eight million people signed up, far exceeding expectations. republican pundits were quick not to give up. >> one-third of obamacare enr l enrollees have not paid. >> there may be an awful lot of deadbeats or free loaders who have signed up but haven't paid their premiums yet. >> congressional republicans even called a hearing this week inviting executives from major insurance companies to testify about how many people had paid premiums on their exchange plans, but then what they heard was unexpected. at least 80%, up to 90% of enrollees have paid their first premiums. so a quick recap. no one is going to like it. some people like it. some one is going to sign up. eight million have in the exchanges alone. no one who signed up is going to
pay. well, wrong again, guys. some are now arguing that we're seeing a major shift in the political strategy of republicans. friend of nerdland wrote on think progress, republicans may be backing off obamacare position and focusing on other ways to hit democrats over things like benghazi and an issue given its own select committee in the house just this week. but i want to ask our panel today, are republicans really abandoning their opposition to the affordable care act, or is this just wishful thinking? joining me now, jay engoff, former director at the u.s. department of health and human services and tara, who is a democratic strategist, and dr. althea maybank assistant commissioner in the new york city department of health and human hygiene. as we call her around here, dr. mcstuffens, the real one. let me start with you, tara.
is igor onto anything? are republicans going to back off or is that wishful thinking? >> i answer would be no, no and no. i don't think the republicans will back off. i think it would be a mistake for democrats to position a strategy based on an expectation that republicans will surrender on health care reform. they will not. now, will they start to ratchet up their attacks on benghazi and other distractions? absolutely. but it would be a mistake strategically to believe at any point given the amount of resources and the amount of effort that has gone into their attacking this law they're going to back away now. >> i want to follow up one second on that because there was this moment previously after the election when there was a shutdown of the government over the issue of aca and overall we hear people saying it's just too old, you can't bring up the shutdown anymore, no one really remembers it. i guess i'm wondering about that timeline. we can't bring up the shutdown
but we can bring up the aca. >> i think you can bring up the shutdown. i think it should be brought up because it showed such irresponsibility on a party that says it's about fiscal responsibility. the amount of money it cost the economy, the amount of money it cost average people who worked in the parks and worked in these places. yes, there was some retroactive pay but these people were harmed over something really, really silly. >> so, let me go to this because it's a question of whether or not it was silly versus whether it was the right thing to shut the government down too. i want to go to the polls. there are people identifying as republicans who simply say we want to keep talking about aca. the kaiser family foundation showing that folks simply want this debate to continue. primarily republicans wanting the debate to continue. but other folks simply saying, especially democrats, saying, no, we're done. we don't want to talk about this anymore. >> and in defense of the republicans, there are a lot of republicans who are sick of this, who don't think it's an advantage to keep talking about
obamacare. they see eight million people have enrolled. it's tougher to take benefits away from people. not only have eight million people enrolled but rates are lower than the congressional budget office projected, lower than the society of act waries projected and in addition they're just tired. they have been fighting this longer than we fought in world war ii. there are five stages of grief. denial -- >> i'm sorry. i was like, wait a minute, is that hyperbole? >> yes. more than four years. five stages of grief. first is denial, second is anger. sure, there's some people who are still angry and they're going to be stuck there, but there are a lot of people who have accepted it. that's the final stage. you don't have to love it, you don't have to love our president. but this is the law and a lot of republicans have accepted it. >> all right. so let me ask you what stage of grief you're in at this moment. part of what i want to do is even beyond the politics, because we could talk about the politics, but i also just sort
of wonder, i know that you've been generally opposed to the law and i know the rollout was a mess, no one is suggesting it wasn't. but where we are now, eight million people signed up, folks paying their premiums, are you willing to concede that there is any part of it that is perhaps imperfect but maybe a pretty good law. >> i think i've been very consistent in saying there are parts of the law that constructive while i think there are large parts that are bad policy and that republicans should accept the fact that the law is here to stay. now, that's different from approving of the law. so it's one thing to say eight million have signed up and therefore the law won't be repealed. it's another thing to say that the law is popular. polls show that majorities disapprove of the law instead of approving of it so that goes back to the election. yes, republicans are going to run on obamacare because in a lot of those states, the law is still unpopular. >> so i think this is such an important point, right, that in fact many people when you ask them simply about obamacare or aca, they say i'm opposed to it, i don't like it. but when you take the parts of it apart and say do you like
being able to cover your kids until they're 25? do you like the idea of medicaid expanding to a larger proportion of people? oh, no, i'm down for that. so that could be a branding. people thinking they may not like it may not mean they're opposed to the policy. >> but all trade-offs. the plans are more expensive than the plans last year in 2013. there are going to be people who pay higher taxes. there are people whose medicare benefits are trimmed. so that may be a good thing overall, but there are trade-offs and people adversely affected. >> so i like this idea of trade-offs. i want to talk to you in bapart about that because i wonder in our politics discussion and in our desire to say we're beating the republicans, we're beating the democrats, we're going to ride hugging this law into a victory or rejecting this law into a victory, did we miss the opportunity to have a more nuanced conversation about the reality that there are trade-offs in health care and
sort of what they reasonably are? >> not death panels but what the trade-offs reasonably are? >> possibly. i think if we talk to those eight million people who now have health care, and it's beyond eight million people, it's also the three million under 26 who have health care and the 4.8 million who signed up for medicaid, so it's beyond that eight million people. if we talk to those folks and ask them so what is it like now that you have health coverage, i think the conversations will be very different as compared to all those people who don't -- it's just not tangible for them. so they're just not connected to what the law is about yet. it's not that it doesn't affect a lot of americans because of the whole essential benefits and this provision of not having to pay for preventive services and not having access to mental health services and oral services but i don't think a lot of people have felt that piece of it yet. >> i like this. and in part because there are real trade-offs, there are also some folks who are going to feel it and in feeling it will feel
some of the negative trade-offs. i wonder if the group who feels the positive might be a very different voting block than those who feel the negative, particularly as we look at the fact that this is a midterm election. when we come back, the big political news in a key primary race this week and how democrats are learning to stop worrying and maybe love obamacare all over again. >> than we had before the aca? >> depending on -- >> small majority of americans don't think they like the affordable care act. but a large majority of americans don't want to do away with the protections that are in the affordable care act. a small majority wants to repeal it. but that is slowly receding as a rising majority says, no, fix it. well, that's in the tradition of good old-fashioned american pragmatism. when it comes to good nutrition...i'm no expert. that would be my daughter -- hi dad. she's a dietitian. and back when i wasn't eating right, she got me drinking boost. it's got a great taste, and it helps give me the nutrition i was missing.
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establishment in north carolina this week when state house speaker thom tillis scored more than 40% of the primary vote and there by preventing a runoff with any of the other seven candidates, including a rand paul-backed tea partier. that was tuesday. tuesday. that's when incumbent democratic senator kay hagan learned who her opponent will be this fall and hagan, who's considered to be among the most vulnerable democratic incumbents this year, her race is being called the 2014 bellwether contest by nbc news' own political team. hagan, who now had to decide her strategy for the general election campaign. on thursday we found out which way she'd go on obamacare, and we found out she is going to go all in. >> last year in north carolina our state legislature and governor decided against expanding the state's medicaid program and as a result about 500,000 people who would have qualified for coverage through
medicaid are now not able to do so. just to be sure, if a state expanded its medicaid program last year, what would the state have to pay in 2014? >> that would be zero. >> so for three years the state pays zero. >> the federal government will pay for those years. >> that wasn't just any democratic aggressively afford the medication expansion but one fighting tooth and nail to remain senator in the midterm elections. in a tough race hagan seems to believe that being outfront and vocally supportive of obamacare is just the place to be. jay, were you surprised by that level of aggressiveness by hagan? >> pleasantly surprised, but it makes sense. that's because with the medicaid expansion, as the secretary designate was saying, at the most even in the long run the state only pays 10% of the cost, but for the first three years the state pays zero. so states can expand medicaid for three years for no state money, and then if at the end of
that three years they decided, you know, we'd like that a lot better when we had a lot more uninsured people, then they can go back and make them uninsured again. >> i have heard over and over again and from republicans that this is the trap, that this is basically like an adjustable rate mortgage being sold to you. you don't have to pay much in the beginning but just 10% for these strapped states will be a big deal on the back end. it is the one argument i hear from republicans and think, okay, that maybe makes -- okay, i can get why people would be concerned about that. >> that is the dominant concern about republicans. first of all, you can't just switch it off once you put people on this program. you're not going to throw them on the street after they have had coverage after three years. >> it's been done. >> it has been done. >> in north carolina. >> and people don't want to go down that road n terms of the 90%, you mentioned in the long run. that's the key sentence. in the long run i think a lot of republicans feel that 90% match from the federal government will go down. even the president in his budgets, budgets that miss burwell actually developed,
proposed narrowing that match down, having a rate that decreases the share that the federal government is supporting medicaid so a lot of state governments are concerned about that, and it is a legitimate concern. >> so it feels fiscally, that feels like a legitimate concern fiscally. i think that is a question worth answering and talking about. but i want to talk to you, doctor, about whether or not it is medically and as a matter of epidemiology and perhaps potentially ethically a reasonable position to stand in. >> right, or is just. we have, if you look at the southern states, there's about 17 southern states. 11 of them are not doing the medicaid expansion. how fair is it that half of the country or part of the country is able to have medicaid exposure and another part of the country is not. i think it's just completely unfair and unjust. p predominantly it's communities of color affected by this. >> tara, i feel you jumping in. >> here's the issue, though. if you get people insurance, if you get them access to medical
care, then costs by definition go down because right now people are using the emergency room and if you go and you have strep throat and the average emergency room in this country you will pay $600 to $700. if you go into a doctor's office for the same treatment, you're talking about $60 to $70. so this argument -- your argument only tells half the story. and so we've already seen that the cost curve is starting to bend. the cost curve that was going up is starting to stabilize because people have access to care. readmissions, and i'm just the doctor can attest to this, hospital readmissions are down in this very short period of time, they're down whach. what that means is that's less cost, less pressure on the system. that means if that continues to happen in the long term, we'll see that pressure go down. >> so it's both a time horizon but also big picture. i want to listen for a moment
because we've talked on this program about how the moral mondays movement in north carolina has actually started to expand across the country. one of the places is missouri. i want to take a listen for a moment and then tell you what it is we're listening to. >> god have mercy. be fair. bring health care. >> so as you can see, that's obviously a crowd of protesters. they have gathered there at the missouri state house in the same ways they were doing at north carolina and to demand a medicaid expansion. you have a bit of a missouri story. >> i was the missouri insurance commissioner for six years in the '90s. i would last about one second there now. missouri used to be a swing state, now it is a very, very anti-obama state. and the irony in missouri, and it's the same thing in several other states, is there are legislators who represent very, very poor districts, who districts would be benefitted, terrifically benefited by the medicaid expansion and they're against it.
and the governor is for it, the hospitals are for it, the insurance industry is for it, our friends in the chamber of commerce are for it. yet still there are these very, very conservative representatives in missouri who are still against it. >> why? >> well, i just want to get back to this point about the quality and the cost of the medicaid expansion. so the gold standard study in this regard was the oregon medicaid experiment. that study showed that in fact costs went up. utilization went up. it went up 40% relative to those uninsured and their health outcomes did not get before. >> this was a short-term study. >> two years. and actually it's consistent with all the medical literature. i've written a whole book about this, how medicaid fails the poor. there's differences between types of coverage. just because you have a card that says you have health coverage doesn't mean the quality of care is better. >> i want everybody to pause. i promise we've got more on this because there's a lot of emotion. up next, what massachusetts tells us about the affordable
care act's potential to save tens of thousands of lives, and then more talking. >> what is noteworthy is the uncharacteristic collaboration of so many individuals and groups and partisans. and how did that happen? i think it's because of what this bill can lead to. every citizen with affordable, comprehensive health insurance. so our business can be on at&t's network for $175 dollars a month? yup. all five of you for $175. our clients need a lot of attention. there's unlimited talk and text. we're working deals all day. you get 10 gigabytes of data to share. what about expansion potential? add a line anytime for 15 bucks a month. low dues... great terms... let's close. new at&t mobile share value plans. our best value plans ever for business. how much money do you think you'll need when you retire? then we gave each person a ribbon to show how many years that amount might last.
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known as obamacare. they compare massachusetts counties with similar counties in other states and found fewer people died in massachusetts counties after the state's health care law went into effect. let's break that down even further. in massachusetts, more health care, fewer deaths. will obamacare save lives in the way romneycare has? one of the men behind the study answers that question next. in 1953. afghanistan, in 2009. orbiting the moon in 1971. [ male announcer ] once it's earned, usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation. because it offers a superior level of protection. and because usaa's commitment to serve current and former military members and their families is without equal. begin your legacy. get an auto insurance quote. usaa. we know what it means to serve. when you didn't dread when youbedtime becausenner with anticipaof heartburn.itation.
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as we mentioned before the break, researchers found the massachusetts health care reform law on which the affordable care act was modeled has likely saved lives at the rate of one life a year for every 830 adults who gain insurance coverage. joining us now from boston is one of the authors of that study, dr. ben summers, a primary care physician and assistant professor of health policy and economics at the harvard school of public health. thanks for coming, doctor. >> thanks for having me. >> tell me about the results. you found that certain
communities actually benefited disproportionately from the health care law. >> when we saw this decline in the death rates in massachusetts and we wanted to be sure is this really about health reform. one of the ways to do that is look where the changes of mortality happened. the biggest decline in death rates were in areas that had more poverty, lower income, more people uninsured before the law took effect and larger gains with racial minorities. all of what you would expect if the driving factor behind death rates was increased access to care and health coverage. >> when we talk about a disproportionate impact on public policy on communities of color, we are always talking about a negative impact so in this case it was surprising to read that there was a disproportionately positive impact. is it enough to close what we think of as the racial health gap? and i know there are many racial health gaps, but life expectancy is among them. >> right. when you take into account age,
we know that the death rates are higher for non-whites and latinos compared to whites. what we find in our study is that the relative reductions in death rates in those minority communities went down by roughly twice as much as they went down among whites after massachusetts health reform. but as you said, there are a lot of factors that seem to drive these health disparities, and these reductions, while significant, don't explain the majority of the overall disparity, which suggests there are a lot of other factors that need to be addressed before we can fix these fundamental inequities in our society. >> i want to come out to you, dr. maybeck, because this is much of the work that you do. >> the confusion around the health care law is that the health care law is really specific to increasing access to health insurance and improving quality of service. however, there is much more in the health care law that also speaks to how do we collect
data, how do we look across the races, is it equitable. what kind of research do we do to understand what's happening. how are we supporting the workforce and pipeline so we have communities of color going into med school. all of these are provisions within the health care law that will take a long time for us to see what the results are. and that's just one piece of it. what we know in the public health community is that there are many factors that contribute to our health. where we live, work, play and pray. if we're really talking about policy and how do we change policy, we have to look at all of the other policies that impact health, whether it's housing, economic, job policy, so this health care law as important as it is, is only a piece of the puzzle to closing that gap. >> i want you to put the piece that you put on the table earlier, this idea that maybe medicaid, just having that card, doesn't have this increased impact or improved impact on health that we might like to see in relationship with what we now know about romneycare's success
and what dr. maybank was saying that it may be part of a larger story. >> it's a great question. i did this analysis for "forbes." about 88% of the people that gained coverage under romneycare gained it under private insurance. so obamacare relies much more on the medicaid expansion piece of it. of course the state of the health insurance system in massachusetts was fairly different than the state of the health insurance system around the country. so for those reasons we have to be cautious about extrapolating the results from the romneycare effect to that for obamacare generally. what we can glean from this study is that expanding private coverage does improve health outcomes and that's consistent with the literature that we've had. in most of the studies that care the performance of private insurance to medicaid, private insurance does improve health outcomes substantially relative to medicaid. >> dr. summers, do you agree with that assessment of what your study says about medicaid expansion versus greater access to private insurance?
>> our study doesn't let us look directly at the type of coverage each person has so we can't comment directly. there is some context in massachusetts that is useful which were there were gains in multiple different types of coverage. there was an increase in employer coverage that was happening here, not happening elsewhere. there was medicaid expansion that was primarily targeting low income, chronically unemployed adults and this creation of the health insurance exchange which was the model for it we see nationally. and these are private plans, publicly subsidized. interestingly when you look at massachusetts at com care, these are the same plans that largely cover the low income population in mass health, our state's medicaid program. so i think it's a little misleading to say what the state did as primarily private. the boundaries are blurrier than that. this is a study that comments on the impact of health insurance at large, whether that's public or private or otherwise. >> jay, i'm always a little uncomfortable when i hear the
privatization narrative. so on the one hand i do think we have important questions to ask about medicaid but i also worry about the idea -- i mean private health insurance can really be stinky. >> absolutely. it's a little oversimplistic to say government insurance bad, private insurance good. either of them can be either good or bad depending on how they're regulated. with the exchanges, for example, massachusetts, romneycare did a good job by standardizing the benefit packages, forcing insurers to compete on price and by also -- to compete by improving quality. and if the exchanges are structured that way, if they are strong exchanges, price can be driven down and quality can be improved. >> got it. so create an incentive structure. yes, it was private but also with a government-imposed incentive structure that makes it high caught. thank you to dr. sommers in boston. a study that helps us think outside the box on this.
thank you to jay, dr. maybank. tara is sticking around. coming up next, the latest on the international effort to save more than 200 kidnapped young girls. and monica lewinsky in her own words, what she's learned and what we've learned. more nerdland at the top of the hour. (mother vo) when i was pregnant... i got more advice than i knew what to do with. what i needed was information i could trust on how to take care of me and my baby. luckily, unitedhealthcare has a simple program that helps moms stay on track with their doctors and get the right care and guidance-before and after the baby is born.
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and we'll be here at lifelock doing our thing: you do your shop from anywhere thing, offering protection that simple credit score monitoring can't. get lifelock protection and live life free. welcome back, i'm melissa harris-perry. it has been nearly a month since 276 school girls in northern nigeria were stolen from their classroom in a brazen kidnapping by armed gunmen. the terror group boko haram claimed responsibility this week. more than 50 of the girls that they took have escaped, but on monday boko haram reportedly kidnapped eight more school girls. they attacked a village in northern nigeria. protests have risen up to call attention not just to the girls'
plight and the lack of western media coverage but also to the failure of government to act. the parents of the girls have voiced their frustration and awareness. worldwide has spiked thanks in part to the usage of the twitter #bringbackourgirls. first lady michelle obama sent out a tweet wednesday that was retweeted more than 53,000 times. word also came from the first lady's account on friday that she would deliver her first solo weekly address today on whitehouse.gov about bring back our girls and mother's day. president obama in an interview with nbc news' al roker this week said this when asked about the kidnapping. >> this is a terrible situation. boko haram, this terrorist organization that's been operating in nigeria, has been killing people and innocent civilians for a very long time. so what we've done is we have offered and it's been accepted,
help from our military and law enforcement officials. we're going to do everything we can to provide assistance to them. >> a u.s. senate panel next week will examine u.s. offers of assistance to nigeria and the u.s. state department gave an update friday on the american personnel headed there. 15 people in total, including three fbi agents and seven from the united states africa command. here's what seven-day forecast john kerry had to say on thursday. >> the entire world should not only be condemning this outrage but doing everything possible to help nigeria in the days ahead. >> and kerry faced this question from ann curry during a friday twitter chat. do you have any confidence at all -- that all or some of the girls can be found? his response, too early to conclude. team arriving. very difficult situation. determined to do everything we can to help. that, of course, is the larger
issue at hand. what can be done at this point about these girls, about the terror group whose leader says would sell them into slavery and this week killed dozens of towns dlts people earlier in northeastern nigeria. a group who has been killing and terrorizing like this a lot longer than many of us have been paying attention. two reports offered a different perspective. friday fears of the risk of abduction have contributed to a sharp increase in women and girls fleeing northeastern nigeria into niger. 80% of the 1,000 refugees pouring over the border this week are girls and women. amnesty international released a report claiming that nigerian authorities had advance warning of the attack that led to the girls being kidnapped and failed to act. joining me now in new york are nina burle, just returned from reporting on the ground in nigeria and juda gua a native of
nigeria as well as an expert on the terror group boko haram. and christina finch, managing director of amnesty international's usa's identity and discrimination unit. very nice to have you all here. >> thanks for having me. >> thanks. >> christina, i want to start with you and ask you about the report amnesty international did that i just spoke of. why didn't the nigerian government act? >> as you mentioned, on friday amnesty international released a report that said the nigerian government had prior knowledge of the attack happening and failed to act. so what we know is that there's been a conflict in northern nigeria for several years and the nigerian government has taken a variety of different approaches to ending the conflict. so we're concerned that the nigerian government in this gross dereliction of duty to protect civilians felt like it was okay not to take action to
make sure that the school girls were not abducted. >> all right. so here's the challenge, then. if we're talking about boko haram as the group that has committed this act but you're also talking about gross acts of negligence on the part of the nigerian government, but then you have these calls from social media to do something, with whom would we partner to intervene? what would that look like? >> well, we're calling on the nigerian government to take all lawful measures to get these girls back. our paramount concern is for the safety of these girls and every minute that goes by, we're very concerned about what's happening to them. so the nigerian government really needs to step up and take action and make sure that these girls are recovered. and of course we're also calling on boko haram to immediately release these girls. >> christina, hold for me one moment. professor, i want to come to you on this because it does feel to me that a moment like this galvanizes international attention but attention that
folks don't actually know very much about the country, about the challenges on the ground there and that calls for action might lead us to doing things that are hasty and that make things worse. do you have a sense of whether the u.s.' role at this moment is improving or worsening the situation relative to boko haram and these young women? >> i think that the role of the united states is actually very vital, it's very important to make any substantial progress in this matter. the history of the boko haram in nigeria and so many times that they have been terror attacks, it appears that the law enforcement agencies, like the police organizations, have become overwhelmed.
bite sheer force of the boko haram. and the fact that boko haram appears to be even better armed and more sophisticated. i mean there are cases where police stations have been totally attacked and prisoners liberated. as time goes on, everyone becomes almost like fearful of the boko haram. and you find out that even the military think that the boko haram is much, much better armed. >> what you are laying out here i think is so important because it is how terrorism works, right. that it's not just the act, but it's how the act then signals something about the capacity to do even bigger and greater things, perhaps, than they are capable as a matter of their institutional structure. so i wonder as we talk about our global war on terror, clearly this is an organization that has terrorized a nation. can we think of this as part of what the u.s. cares about? these are our girls and the
terror being experienced in nigeria is our collective terror. >> well, i mean i think that the kidnapping of the girls is part of a larger -- many, many acts of horrendous outrageous things going on there. when i was there every day, dozens, if not up to 100 people, were being murdered on a daily basis in these villages. it was in the newspapers. nigeria has a lot of newspapers. they were reporting on this daily. the people that i was talking to in sort of the high levels of society, i was over there interviewing people who are wealthy members of the petro elite. nigeria is one of the top producers of oil. it's a rich country, even though impoverished. there's a lot of money there. and that may be why this is happening, actually. but people didn't seem to be bothered by it at all in this group.
and the government isn't inclined to act when there isn't an outcry. and so in a way, what's happened here is, you know, boko haram got a lot of attention, unfortunately, but also they have done a great service by doing this in a sense to the response, the cause, because people all over the world have now woken up. >> and yet i know if i'm the mother of one of those daughters, i don't care whether it has some -- i mean maybe in some sort of long run sense i would care if my daughter's abduction and the horror that she experiences has some good out of it, but in the short term, christina, i want to ask thinking very carefully about these young women in this place, do we have any optimism for the possibility of their return? or is the incentive for this terror operation to simply make sure that these girls never return? >> well, i think we have to have
optimism. one thing that amnesty wants to stress is that every minute that goes by, every day that the nigerian government in the world turns a blind eye to what's happening is putting these girls in greater risk. we're already receiving reports that they're being sold into sexual slavery, trafficked out of the country, so there's not a minute to waste to make sure these girls are returned. >> time is short, but i do want to acknowledge that there is a very large nigerian american population, both of first and second and past generations. do you have a sense here in the u.s. about how the nigerian american community is absorbing and coping with this moment? >> absolutely i think the nigerian community here, they are appalled by what has happened. and of course, as i said before, over the years the question of security in the country has become very, very problematic. there are many groups that
kidnap people, asking for ransom. actually many in nigeria are sometimes afraid to return home because of this. so this has incrementally become almost like a common, you know, event or something that, you know, that of course every other time. but this seems to be the very, very thing that is almost like out of proportion with what has been happening all the time. >> this is the moment that galvanizes -- >> exactly. and the nigerian community here, i've been talking to many people. the great disappointment. they complain that the government appears to be sleeping and doing nothing. >> and yet, as you said, perhaps this will be the one moment where we have galvanized this. >> it's brought attention to what's happening with forced marriages and girls all over the
world. >> christina finch, thank you. also thanks to nina and jude here in new york. my letter of the week is next. but the energy bp produces up here creates something else as well: jobs all over america. engineering and innovation jobs. advanced safety systems & technology. shipping and manufacturing. across the united states, bp supports more than a quarter million jobs. when we set up operation in one part of the country, people in other parts go to work. that's not a coincidence. it's one more part of our commitment to america.
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last friday a texas judge recused herself from a sexual assault case after she came under fire for publicly criticizing the survivor of the assault and giving a light sentence to the man who admitted to raping her. the judge gave 20-year-old sir young five years of deferred probation for the crime which occurred in 2011. she took the extra step of freeing him from the usual probationary conditions typically given to sex offenders, which have since been reinstated by the judge who replaced her. and unbelievably, he also ordered him to do community service at a center where people in crisis seek support after
they have been sexually assaulted. all because, as the judge said, the young woman, quote, wasn't the victim she claimed to be. and the young man who raped her was, quote, not your typical sex offender. the judge, a democrat running unopposed for a third term in november, is judge janine howard. and my letter this week is to her. dear judge howard, it's me, melissa. now, you offered this in the explanation you gave for your decision that, quote, my job is not to make people happy. my job is to follow the constitution and do the right thing. i will always do the right thing. okay, judge howard, you may know your job, but you have some deeply problematic notions about what constitutes the right thing when it comes to sexual assault. first of all, there's nothing right about the suggestion that sir young wasn't a typical sex offender. nothing. not his multiple college scholarships nor his acquaintance with his victim exempts him from the one action he has admitted to sharing in
common with so-called typical offenders. namely, sex with a person who cannot or will not consent. but more importantly, you justified your decision based on the fact that the young woman had previously wanted to spend time with sir young, that she had agreed to have sex with him on another occasion and because her medical records indicated she had previously had sexual encounters with other partners, one of which may have resulted in a pregnancy. what exactly does any of that have to do with the moment in 2011 when both the girl and young agree that she repeatedly told him stop, and no, before and during the assault. let me help you answer. nothing. absolutely nothing, because all you really needed to know about whether the then 14-year-old was, as you said, the victim she claimed to be was that in the moment of her assault, she was a girl who did not give her
consent. but since you felt it appropriate to send her rapist to a rape crisis center as part of his probation, a decision you called, quote, spur of the moment, i have to wonder about your concern for consent when it comes to survivors of sexual assault because you certainly did not consider whether those who go to those centers seeking a safe space consented to sharing that space with a convicted rapist. perhaps you felt that working at the center may have taught this young man to have remorse for his actions. but judge howard, in trying to help him to learn something, you have also completely overlooked the lesson that your decision is teaching survivors of sexual assault. because after your judgment, the takeaway from the young woman who survived the assault was this. quote, everything i went through was for nothing. it would have been better for me not to say anything. judge howard, you have confirmed the very deepest fears of all of us who are survivors, that if we
speak up, if we summon the courage to name our attackers, if we seek justice for the violation of our bodies, that we will instead be met with skepticism and shame. so in the future, when you are weighing whether you are doing the right thing by the perpetrator of rape, i hope you'll find a place on the scales of justice for all of those -- all of us who continue to survive it in silence. sincerely, melissa. woman: everyone in the nicu -- all the nurses wanted to watch him when he was there 118 days. everything that you thought was important to you changes in light of having a child that needs you every moment.
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of the various personas with which she was labeled by others, lewinsky writes i was the unstable stalker, the dim wit floozy. the poor innocent who didn't know any better. now a 40-year-old woman, she is looking to reclaim her narrative from the pop shorthand with which she has become associated the last two decades. she notes the semantic error with this aside to the singer. thanks beyonce, but if we're verbing, i think you meant bill clinton'd all on my gown. but despite having a sense of humor behind her name becoming a national punch line, there is nothing funny about the long shadow cast over her life by her brief affair. she discusses in detail the very real consequences, and the loss of her life as a private citizen. despite a decade of self-imposed
silence, i've been periodically resuscitated as part of the national conversation. trying to disappear has not kept me out of the fray, i am presumed to be a known quantity and every day i am recognized. every day someone mentions me in a tweet or a blog post and not altogether kindly. for monica lewinsky, part of reclaiming herself and her humanity also means taking full accountability for her very human lapse in judgment, as if to make absolutely clear that she -- that we don't miss it, she says twice in ititalics thai myself deeply regret what happened between me and president clinton. and although she gives her unequivocal acknowledgement to her own complicity in the relationship, she complicates the idea of consent. while lewinsky was a willing participant in the relationship, as a 21-year-old having a fling with the most powerful man on the planet, that consent could not have possibly extended to the turn her life would take after the affair. she says as much when she writes in my early 20s i was too young to understand the real-life
consequences and too young to see that i would be sacrificed for political speed aens. i look back now, shake my head in disbelief and think what was i, what were we thinking. and lewinsky pulls no punches for those she was surprised to find joining in the call for that sacrifice, asking where were the feminists back then? nowhere to be found. i sorely wish for some understanding from the feminist camp. some good old-fashioned girl on girl support was much in need. none came. given the issues at play, gender, politics, sex in the workplace, you'd have think they'd spoken up. they didn't. bill clinton had been a president to women's causes. she believes they failed her when she was most in need of it as an ally. i still have a deep respect for feminism and thankful for the great strides the movement has made in advancing women's rights over the past few decades, she says, but given my experience of
being passed around like gender politics cocktail food, i don't identify myself as feminist, capital f. the movement's leaders failed in articulating a position that was not essentially anti-woman during the witch hunt of 1988. joining me now, jessica valente, terry didel, byron hurt whose most recent film titled "hazing, how badly do you want it" and mckay coppins, senior writer for buzz feed. so nice to have you here. so jessica, is that a fair critique of feminism? >> i think it is. i think she was thrown under the bus for broad erks political concerns. i don't think you can find on behalf of all westeomen if you' not willing to defend one. that doesn't mean that they needed to bash the clintons, but she was being publicly shamed, humiliated, this was an extremely young woman and i do think some apologies should be
made. >> is it possible, tara, to make that apology for a group of -- whether it is a feminist infrastructure or individual, to make that apology to monica lewinsky for the extent to which she was not fully considered as a human and simultaneously support the candidacy of hillary clinton? which is still an imaginary candidacy at this point but potentially a candidacy of hillary clinton, which would undoubtedly bring bill clinton back to the white house, albeit in a supportive spouse role. >> well, first of all, i think feminism is not perfect. >> can we get a hash tag, feminism is not perfect? >> over the years there have been many times i think feminists should have stepped up on behalf of different people. i have to be honest, i'm not sure that monica lewinsky is as much of a victim as others that feminism has left on the side of the road. >> give me just one example. >> oh, gosh, how many examples could i give you.
well, i think in particular as it relates to black women. i think many times -- a lot of times from my perspective, michelle obama. i think that she has been pummeled in this white house the way she's been treated, and when she stood up for herself against that one woman who was, i guess, anna agitator at her one of events, i think there could have been more defense of michelle obama. some people have attacked her for not being as aggressive on certain issues as a woman, and i think there's a lack of sensitivity and understanding, you know, sort of the cultural and color dynamics that relate to her. >> so i like this idea that there was this moment of failure. that the failures in part related to a complicity with the power of the clinton white house in that moment and that this is not feminism's only fail. so that monica lewinsky is one but there's a broader set of relationships, intersections
around race and identity and class that we know at least one version of feminism has systematically failed. that said, i do -- i guess there is a part of me that wants to just in the context of monica lewinsky think about the idea that she is -- her name and her life does end up with a layer of shame over it, unlike what the clintons are even first lady obama -- like, yes, there are moments of attack, but michelle obama's name is not inherently a punch line. you can't michelle obama over people's dress. there's a way in which monica lewinsky's name becomes a thing that just carries shame with it. >> well, what struck me about her essay the most was the fact that her journey after this whole controversy was very, very different than bill clinton's journey and even hillary clinton's journey. in fact his reputation has probably blossomed, has grown,
his stature has increased. he's seen as such a statesman and such a respected ex-president. meanwhile, she's struggled to make a living and earn a job -- and get a job and earn a living. and so that just speaks to me to the level of male privilege that president clinton, former president clinton benefited from on which most men in his situation benefit from whenever there is the other woman. and so his reputation remained intact while that woman, monica lewinsky, had to endure so much and really silently. she really suffered alone based on her essay and what she describes. >> so i appreciate that you put lewinsky in the context of bill clinton. typically the next person who's name is mentioned is actually hillary clinton, as i did when i asked you that question. so is planet hillary like at this moment, do you think planet hillary is saying, okay, whoa, this is -- this is bad for us, this is good for us, or just this is fully expected. >> well, i think that they probably expected monica to
re-emer re-emerge at some point in these next two years. the same way that you've seen some them niss over the last week wrestle with how the movement handled that whole scandal in the '90s. what's interesting now is you see republicans, who are now emerging and saying if we're going to talk about this, we don't talk about the sex scandal, we don't talk about the blue dress or all those details, we talk about the way the partisan democratic machine revved up and just, you know, went to war with this intern, right? >> this is their version of the war on women. this is what we have rand paul saying this week. when we come back, i want to ask you, jessica, if that's at all fair. i don't think that it's fair to say somehow hillary clinton is responsible for this moment, but i do wonder, again, how you make that apology, how you think about the question of shaming in this context when we come back.
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republic this week in response to monica lewinsky's piece, in the fer individual investigation and coverage of it, both women, both lewinsky and hillary clinton, got hammered as overweight and ugly, dumb and monstrous. they each became cartoons of dismissible femininity and the calculating sexless aggressor, characters who illustrated the ways that sex, sex that's had by men as well, always rebounds negatively on women. these two women weren't at odds, they were in it together. so you can't really have the monica lewinsky conversation without having the hillary clinton conversation. and she said it's because they become these two sides of the ugly coin. and who emerges? bill. >> he's completely absent from this narrative and it is unbelievable. i think they both did become caricatures in this whole conversation and it just goes to show, you know, if you're a woman and transgress sexually in
any sort of way, whether that's being the slut or whether that's being too frigid, supposedly, you get attacked. there's no winning. >> and he is the first, as president, sitting there in that moment as president saying i did not have sex with that woman. he is the first to engage in the slut shaming. he is the first who is clearly willing, not knowing that there is physical evidence, willing to say that i have had this affair but i'm going to call her a liar, move on and send her into history as the crazy lady. >> and he's the first to dehumanize her, that woman, and take her personhood away. that's what i thought was really interesting about her piece. a couple of times it says it may surprise you to know that i'm a person. >> and i wonder the extent to which, byron, that is precisely what slut shaming is in a broader cultural sense. i was going back and remembering what elizabeth smart said after her escape from having been held. part of what she said was she felt that her abstinence-only
education had taught her that rape survivors -- she said i thought i'm that chewed-up piece of gum. nobody rechews a piece of gum, you throw it away. that's how easy it is to feel like you no longer have worth, you no longer have value. why would it be worth screaming out or if you are rescued, your life has no value. clearly monica lewinsky is not a rape survivor, but it feels like there's a connection there to me. >> i think it's all in the same -- it's all connected, i think. i think that's the power and the impact of slut shaming. that's the one thing that i sort of took away from the essay was that the essay humanized her in a way that i haven't really seen in a very long time. and i think that's what happens to women all of the time, especially in rape cases, especially sexual assault cases, where women are -- their sexual histories are basically put on a stage for everybody to see so that they can be discredited, so that their stories could be eradicat eradicated, they could be seen
as people who are not trustworthy or lying about their assaults. and so i just think it's a tactic, you know, by men and also women participating in this as well in terms of making women feel as if they are less than, by sharing their story and sharing their truths about any sort of level of victimization. >> and it's not just culture. on the one hand, amen, right, and it's not just culture. we just talked about the judge who sentenced someone lightly because of this notion. but we've seen this in republican politics recently, where there's this language about legitimate rape. or even as we saw around campus rape this week, a republican woman saying, this is naomi schaefer riley in "the new york post" saying the liberals have run the show when it comes to dealing with regrettable campus sex and screwed things up completely. first they stepped back from endorsing traditional beliefs about sexual restrained then endorse the claim that every drunken hook-up is rape. the republicans lost on this
kind of language last time. >> yeah, i mean the problem with this is you go to the rnc just had their spring meeting, right, where they're aggressively trying to figure out ways to court women and appeal to women and rout out this language but they can't control every conservative, every republican. this has been part of the thinking in a certain strain of conservative thought for so long, it's going to be a long time before the republicans can purge this language from their rhetoric. >> and yet monica lewinsky reminds us that this is not slut shaming is not a partisan issue. >> it is not. what i find interesting is one of the tactics that the republicans have chose to do is have women deliver these anti-women messages. so it's just a really dumb tactic to think, oh, if i have an anti-woman message delivered by a woman, then that is us empowering women. and so i think that the strategy has been very misguided. but at the same time it's been misguided from our perspective. but if you look at parts of their base, these messages
resonate. again, a lot of what they do is about appealing to the primary voter base initially. i think democrats can't underestimate the need to push back against this kind of rhetoric and not to think it's going to just sound so silly that it should be dismissed. >> and again, i would just point out that the resurgence of monica lewinsky conversation is a critically important one around these issues of women and consent and sexuality, but it also reminds us that democrats, for all this finger pointing, are going to have to cope with a very long history of this behavior within the democratic party. thank you all. sports fans may already know that for a number of star professional athletes this week there was one particular thing on their minds. really? it's just adorable and sweet. that's next. mine was earned in korea in 1953.
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a quick programming note before we continue. tomorrow morning here on msnbc, we'll be showing barclay's premier league championship sunday starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern. it's on the final day of the league. since we are not going to have a show tomorrow, i want to send an early mother's day message. tomorrow is a day that we dedicate to honoring the mothers in our lives. some guys are sending their mother's day wishes early. former university of south carolina defensive end jadeveon clowney was the number one nfl draft pick on thursday. and the first to talk about spoiling his mama. excited about a career with texas, but he seemed even more pumped to support the one who had always supported him. he said i think she is just as happy as i am, if not even happier. i'm just glad i can take care of my mom. no one gave a more memorable tribute this week than nba star kevin durant, who on tuesday won
his first most valuable player award. >> we weren't supposed to be here. you made us believe. you kept us off the street. you put clothes on our backs, food on the table. when you didn't eat, you made sure we ate. you went to sleep hungry. you sacrificed for us. you're the real mvp. >> the sacrifices kevin says his mother, wanda, made are exceptional, and she's not alone. mothers every day give their all for their children. this morning i want to send my mother's day appreciation not only to moms, but to the organizations who support them and work to ease the challenge of parenting in difficult situations. for north carolina mothers who learned their snap or wic benefits do not cover diapers for their newborn, there's the north carolina diaper bank which provides low income families
with free, clean diapers. for louisiana mothers, whose children have been incarcerated, there is friends and families of louisiana's incarcerated children, which supports mothers and families of incarcerated youth as they work to positively transform the criminal justice system. for mothers who spend their work days taking care of other people's children but don't have workplace protections that ensure they can be with their own kids in the case of sickness and injury, there's the national domestic workers alliance, which advocates for policy dignity for domestic workers. and for mothers like sybrina fulton and others who have lost children to gun violence or live in fear of their children not making it home, there are organizations like moms demand action for gun sense in america, which advocates for middle ground solutions to gun violence. tomorrow, if you have a mother or you are a mother or you know a mother, i encourage you to
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on thursday, a 56-year-old woman was shot while sitting on her chicago porch at 5:5 p.m. she was one of 15 people would became shooting victims in chicago over the course of just 12 hours. chicago has become notorious for its high rate of gun violence. with headlines released almost daily marking the uptick. chicago has become the focal point for media coverage of this country's gun crisis. in the shadow of the windy city, about 200 miles south on interstate 65 is a city with an even higher murder rate. it's indianapolis, indiana. there on april 28th a man in his early 30s was fatally shot during what police suspect was a drive-by shooting. he became the 50th homicide victim in indianapolis this year. the city had a murder race of 6
per 100,000 residents in 2014 and the city is taking various measures to curb gun violence like broadening the police force and launching youth empowerment programs. our foot soldier this week is taking an unconventional approach using art to turn instruments of violence into a symbol of peace. ryan feeney, an indianapolis firefighter since 200 is one of the first responders on emergency calls about gun violence on his city. now commissioned by the sheriff's office he's responding by building a sculpture to commemorate homicide victims. the sculpture would be assembled using more than 150 guns confiscated by the sheriff's office. joining me now from indianapolis is the firefighter and founder of indy art, ryan feeney. >> nice to see you, thanks, melissa. >> you've worked as a firefighter and emt. in fact, you were on call the past 24 hours, is that right? >> that's correct, i got off this morning at 8:00 a.m. and went in yesterday at 8:00 a.m.
>> you undoubtedly a foot soldier in so many ways. tell me specifically about what you have seen as an emt and firefighter in terms of your experience with gun violence. >> well, you know, just i switched to a new firehouse which is in one of the most dangerous zip codes in indianapolis. and after two shifts there, you know, i witnessed a gunshot. and it's really not something that you like to see. they're kids. they don't understand. the guns are just, they're out there, and the thing is, they don't look where they shoot. innocent people are getting shot all the time. >> right. i think sometimes we hear about the shootings and we suspect everyone is involved and somehow complicit, but you are, in fact, honoring folks who have died, who are homicide victims, with this extraordinary piece of art. tell me where the inspiration came from. >> i've done some projects for the sheriff's department.
the sheriff gave me a call and he said he had buckets and buckets of confiscated guns and he wants to do something positive with them. and he and i worked together. he said he wanted something to resemble peace from these pieces that just destroyed lives. and i kind of came up with some different ideas for him and sketched some ideas and presented them to him. and he chose to have the dove with the olive branch he thinks -- or that resembles the best sculpture that we can do. >> watching these guns be turned into a symbol of peace reminds me of the verse in isaiah about pounding the swords into plow shares and studying war no more. tell me why it is a particular honor to homicide victims to have this symbol be made out of precisely the weapons of their death. >> well, you know, it's nice to have these weapons actually be part of the actual sculptures. they know it's not get back on street. they're done. they will not be on the street
to cause violence anymore and ruin more lives. they will be out on the street now as a form of art. and people can observe it. one of the first things that sheriff lleyton and i wanted to do was from a distance you take a look at this piece of art and you see something. then as you walk up on it, you start to see the guns. that was the -- kind of the main goal. what he wanted to do first is melt the guns down and do something from there. we kind of came on the idea of, you know, why not make it out of these actual guns. the sheriff's department does such a great job and sheriff lleyton to get these guns off the street and, you know, they're off the street and it's hopefully something positive, you know, art is all in the eye of the beholder. >> i love this. i know you are primarily working on this project on your own. i'm wondering as a firefighter if you're imagining a public art project on this same model where you might pull in some of the young people, some of the community members that you talked about as not having a clear understanding of just how
bad this violence is. >> absolutely. i've done some sculptures before where i did a bronze and it was of a religious theme and i had the sunday school for that actual church come in and help me put the clay on sculpture before it was bronzed. that's been about ten years ago. some of these kids now come into the shop and poke around and kind of get to see some of the stuff i do and they recognize that they were, you know, 5 years old, 6 years old, and they actually helped with the sul chur. absolutely, i would love to get some of these kids in and actually help work the metal. >> fireman feeney, i appreciate so much the extent to which you are helping us to see the world differently and take these instruments of death and turning them into symbols of peace. thank you for being our foot soldier this week. that is our show for tonight. thanks to you at home for watching. i get to have the rare sunday
morning off. i get to have a sunday's day brunch with my own kids. it's so exciting. we will be back next saturday and sunday. right now, it's time for a preview of "weekends with alex witt." >> you had to rub it in. have a bellini or something really fun and celebrate. happy mother's day to you. a good day to all of you. what went wrong? we're learning more about the terrifying final moments before a hot air balloon fell out of the sky. this as the search for debris and victims continues this hour. nearly 20 years after the white bronco chase, the sister of the late ron goldman fleekt maman r on that murder trial. her efforts to contact o.j. simpson. and nowhere near the finish line will brazil be ready for the olympics come 2016. another major city has secretly been put on standby. don't go anywhere, we'll be right back. fancy feast elegant . inspired dishes like primavera, florentine and tuscany.
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angered some victim's family member members. a new approach has republican rand paul breaking ranks with his party on voter i.d. laws. olympic-sized questions. is brazil running into trouble when it comes to preparing? there's one new surprising report. in office politics, he talks about how he graduated college at the age of 15. > hellhello, everyone. dramatic and frightening stories emerging today from witnesses who saw a hot air balloon explode into flames and fall out of sight. it happened in virginia, where police are still searching for two people. they have recovered one body. >> obviously the balloon was fully engulfed in flames and there was no way